Hey, I commissioned some art from a friend for a project that ended up going nowhere, and then fell out of touch with this friend. I’ve got all the rights to it, paid in full, but recently I’ve been thinking about getting it as a tattoo. It’s a really elaborate piece of art with a lot of deep personal blah blah blah, my real question is, should I tell the artist? I have no idea how they’d react, and I’d rather not push them further away, but at the same time they poured a fraction of their life into this.
And, on a related note, what’s the courtesy for folks who get tattoos of art they find online? Obviously the artist deserves some kind of support in return. Everyone should know that. What’s a fair rate?
It feels like you’re only asking me a fraction of your real question. “Should I tell the artist?” Dude. What the fuck is really going on? You’ve made it clear that you don’t owe the artist anything, but this inner conflict about giving notice feels very “tip of the iceberg.”
I think maybe you’re really asking this in the hope that I’ll order you to tell the artist, as if you somehow need me to give you a technical reason, a little push that obligates you to finally get back in contact with this person.
And your related note is not at all related. It’s a diversion. You want me to give you a dollar amount that you can compare to whatever number you have in your head. You want to offer your artist friend some money, but you don’t want it to be an insult or seem like charity, so you need me to establish a “fair rate” that justifies your desire to give.
Hmm. You cared very deeply for this person, and this piece of art is the last connection you have to them. So it’s either tattoo it onto your body and have them there forever, or risk reaching out to them, ruining everything all over again, and then poisoning the tattoo’s potential.
Here’s my two cents: The relationship is more important than its symbol. The connection you have to the artist is more important than the connection you have to the art.
Do with that what you will.